Nuking the Nips

Hiroshima-BlastIt was today, 71 years back, that Imperial Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, of course.

They actually used the word imperial because they were out to expand their empire, and they made no bones about it.

Coincidentally, I am now reading a superlative book titled With the Old Breed and written by a Marine infantryman who fought the Japanese in the Pacific.

(There were no lady Marines in the infantry in those days, which is part of the reason America won the war.)

The Japanese were incredibly and unnecessarily brutal to their foes, far more than the Nazis in the European war. The Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, routine bayoneting of everybody in their path, military or otherwise.

Men, women, children, no matter.

And they rarely surrendered. They chose death over the dishonor of surrender. These were very bad boys who considered the enemy sub-human.*

But after they had been whipped in most of the Pacific, their homeland had to be taken by force because surrender was not in their vocabulary. A land invasion would have cost untold American lives, so President Truman nuked them. Good.

Japan rapidly revised its no-surrender policy.

The United States took over Japan, set it right, and taught them democracy. Then the U.S. forces packed their duffel bags and headed home.

Something similar happened in Europe, which was rubble after the defeat of the Nazis. America set much of it right, including millions of dollars in aid via the postwar Marshall Plan. The Americans, of course, went home.

They did not stay to rule.**

At the same time, the Soviet Union overran much of Eastern Europe chasing the Germans. The Soviets, however, did not go home. They remained for decades until the harsh economic realities of communism ended Soviet imperialism.

One hears a lot these days about the United States being imperialistic, which is cockamamie nonsense. The nation makes errors, sure, as do all nations. Powerful nations perhaps make more than most.

Imperialism, however, is not one of them.

Nazi Germany tried to take over much of the world, killing millions. Imperial Japan brutally defeated and oppressed much of China and the Pacific.

Now that’s imperialism, boys and girls.

We are not oppressed today by oven-building Nazis and bayonet-jabbing Japs due entirely to anti-imperialistic America.

Wise up, and show a little gratitude.

* * * *

* This is true, and today’s Islamofascists harbor a very similar attitude toward non-Muslim “infidels,” something you might want to keep in mind the next time you consider mailing a check to the PLO.

** Apparently, much of this has been eliminated from modern American history instruction where self-loathing has become de rigueur.

23 thoughts on “Nuking the Nips”

  1. As a man who studies Latin America, we have not covered ourselves in glory with our policy in Latin America.

    As to your ending statement: have you sat in an American History classroom in the last 20 years? Where do you get these ideas? It sure does not sound much like the course work I have sat through in the past 20 years. Maybe my profs were special.


    1. Norm: Mistakes were and still are made, but one must keep things in perspective. Japan’s invasion of China, expanding as far as possible into the Pacific and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and Hitler’s invasion of Europe east and west hardly compares to American meddling, sometimes justified, sometimes not, in Latin America. To even suggest similarities of scope or intentions is utter nonsense.

      And yet many people do.

      It’s also important to remember that much of American meddling in Latin America took place due to fear of communist expansion, not an entirely misplaced fear at the time.

      It’s easy to forget these days that communism was successfully on the move for quite a spell and appealed to a lot of people.

      And, of course, America also meddled quite a bit due to economic interests. No disputing that. However, this did not entail massive-scale bayoneting or tossing people into gas ovens.

      Or Death Marches to anywhere.


      And from what I have read many times, U.S. history textbooks at all levels of the school system are being re-written to be politically correct, and that includes an increasingly anti-American look at the nation’s “history,” downplaying or totally ignoring positives and accentuating negatives.

      It’s only fair, you know.

      And this ignorant attitude, more and more, is creeping into the culture.

      Example: Obama buddy Rev. Wright’s infamous “Goddamn America” sermon, still available on YouTube, that was quickly and easily swept under the rug with few complaints during Obama’s first campaign.

      One of Wright’s justifications for his attitude, he said himself, was Truman’s nuking those poor Japanese. Ignoramus.


      1. And this Wright guy is a history teacher? He writes history books? I fail to see the connection.
        Have you cracked one of these rewritten history books you are so offended by ? My guess, someone else read one and told you how to think about it. What I find wrong about many of the JR. High and High School level history books is that they tend to be a bit fluffy, not enough depth. Dumbed down they are guilty of in spades. They do cover more of the history dealing with Blacks than they did when I was a kid. Is this a bad thing? Women and their issues get a hearing today, Molly Hatchet, the vote that sort of thing.I have not been in the classroom teaching history in 20 years so maybe things have changed but I kind of doubt it-the right was in hysterics then about content as well and just as wrong.


  2. My dad’s family was military. When the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor, one of their neighbors on base came running out saying, “The little yellow bastards have bombed us!” My dad never bought anything made in Japan.


    1. Carole: And today they are our good buddies. Times change.

      They did actually consider non-Japanese to be sub-human, which was the justification for much of the extreme brutality. Such are the oddities of culture.

      One wonders how many still harbor that notion. Not too many, I hope.


  3. It was never justified to nuke Japan. General Curtis LeMay dropped napalm bombs, which burned out 40% of the area of Japanese target cities in the World War before Japan was nuked. This was far more destructive than what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Unfortunately, we are the 21st century imperialists today.


    1. Andres: You were quite correct, however, in that the Allies gave quite an aerial pounding to Japan in the traditional manner. Problem was that Japan still showed absolutely no inclination to surrender.

      Keep in mind that these were people who, during the battles on Pacific islands, would be holed up in a cave when some G.I. with a flamethrower would appear at the entrance, hollering something along the line of: Come out with your hands up, or I’ll turn you into toasted hot dogs.

      They almost invariably chose the toasted hot dog option.

      The traditional bombing of Japan was destructive, of course, but it was not doing the trick. The only option left was a land invasion, something that would have cost countless American lives.

      So Truman nuked them, and it all ended real fast. He did the right thing.


  4. As usual, you are right on, with (in my humble opinion) unarguable truths. I’m 72 years old and I remember my parents fear and hatred of the Japanese. I’m saddened by the national self loathing that we are subjected to in the media and our schools, and the attempts to change history to show us as the bad guys. I think we’re in big trouble up here. Keep the great stories and opinions coming. You’ve been a very prolific writer of late and even though I don’t comment often, I read and enjoy all your posts.

    Paul Bowman


  5. The past is prologue and history is a very unappreciated subject. A recent poll showed that college history grads are among the least paid of all.

    All we’ve basically done is to swap places with the British Empire of the 19th century. As you may recall they occupied India and China, introduced the opium trade as a means of enslavement and nearly burned Washington to the ground. Now they are our NATO partners.


  6. America preferred to conduct their “Death Marches” in their own country. The “Trail of Tears” is a good example where the forced relocation of the Cherokee, Choctaw and Seminole people from their own land. Thousands died on this forced march.


    1. There are also the thousands of Japanese Canadians who were forced off their own land and sent to concentration camps far from the sea during WWII. Some friends of ours tell how their parents had their farmland in Richmond, BC stolen from them and how her uncle had his commercial fishing boat confiscated by the Canadian Government. The land and boat were not returned to them after the war. These people were just as Canadian as my family, and still are.

      I am sure the same thing happened in the USA. We sure taught them a lesson, didn’t we?


      1. Croft: Yes, of course, the same thing was done to Japanese-Americans, not the nation’s proudest moment. It indicates the hysteria that can accompany war.

        The purpose was not to “teach them a lesson.” It was done due to a perceived uncertainty of their allegiances. And, of course, their appearance. German-Americans often were targeted too, but not to the extent of the Japanese-Americans. German-Americans did not look different, of course. They just had different names.

        In short: Life is messy.


      1. Croft: Don’t wander off into the ridiculous. Have you joined La Raza, the racist Latino organization?

        The areas that now are Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, etc., though claimed by Mexico in those times, were largely unpopulated by Mexicans.

        The United States was doing its Manifest Destiny thing, and the Mexicans were fussing among themselves and indulging in governmental chaos. You know, much like today.

        If you don’t hold on to whatcha got, even if it is primarily just on a map, you’re gonna lose it.

        And they did, which is a good thing. And it was long, long ago. National boundaries change all over the world on an ongoing basis, in some places more than others. C’est la vie.


  7. I highly recommend Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. A remarkable story about an amazing individual. American POW fatality rates were much higher under Japanese capture than in Nazi stalags.


    1. Peter: Never even heard of it, so I went to Amazon. Seems it’s a book about the “evil” doings of American business. The reviewers, and there are quite a lot of them, seem about split down the middle. They either love it or they hate it.

      Capitalism has many faults, I grant. Socialism has far more.


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